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					Access to Heritage Sites

    Jonathan             Rix
    j.r.m.rix@open.ac.uk
What are Heritage sites?   ?

        Castles

       Galleries

       Museums

      Old Ships

      Churches

       Palaces

     Old Houses
Some sites have:
    Special tours

    Audio tours

    Art Projects

    Photography Projects

    Personal history projects

    Accessible signs
But there is very little advice

 Museum Libraries and Archives    Sensory Disabilities
      Inclusive Information
                                  12 pages
                                  Learning Difficulties

                                  ½ a page
  National Endowment For Arts     Sensory Disabilities
    Design For Accessibility
                                  12 pages
                                  Learning Difficulties
 Advice is often general:
 Eg:
 Think about whether people can access your information




Or
     Consult and involve new audiences in the production of exhibitions.
Some advice can be quite worrying too:




A professional consultant, whether disabled or non disabled, should
be able to cover all areas of impairment, including those in which
they have no personal experience.
                                       (Audits - Delin, 2003 pp16)


                         1
Some advice may be useful:



The   Disability Directory (Resource 2001) recommends the use of
1.    plain english
2.    supporting pictures
3.    short sentences
4.    clear print
5.    step by step learning opportunities
6.    active sentences without complex qualifying clauses
Some advice may cause difficulties and
confusion:


 The Disability Directory (Resource 2001) also recommends the use of:



        Attention-grabbing, human-story information



        No distracting background audio effects
How can we give better advice?




How can we give more good advice?
             Key issues from a Medical Model View




Visual Functioning

Auditory Functioning

Response to Stimuli

Short-term memory

Language understanding and use
             Key issues from a Medical Model View




Referential issues

Motivation

Numeracy skills

Comprehension
But is this research useful?

It is all about limitations...

It is about what people cannot do...



It does not tell us how we can make
heritage sites better
            Heritage site            audiotour              research
Rix, J. (2005) Checking the List: Can a Model of Down Syndrome Help Us
Explore the Intellectual Accessibility of Heritage Sites? International Journal of
Heritage Studies, 11, 4, 341 - 356


                   Westminster Abbey Audiotour
                        Comparison of the structures of 3 Audiotours
                                Main Tour 1        Main Tour 2                  Basic Language Tour

     Words                      7801               8626                         7451
     Sentences                  435                485                          567
     Mean Word Length           4.47 characters    4.43 characters              4.29 characters
     Mean Sentence Length       17.93 words        17.78 words                  13.14 words
     Different words            1872               1819                         1052
     Duplicated words (% of     777 - 85%          768 - 88%                    620 - 94%
     text)
     Unmatched words (%of       1095 - 15%         1051 - 12%                   432 - 6%
     text)
     Duplicated words           6706               7575                         7019

adjectives
technical terms                                                      family names
dates                                                                verbs with different endings
uncommon nouns                                                       alternative words to help explain other
older english                                                        words
terms that are knowledge and context specific                        occasional site specific term
I discovered that my audio tour...was better than the others...
in theory!
And I identified parts of the audio tours where you could ask:



Is there a negative impact on focus, motivation and self-
confidence of the audience?
Identified parts of the audio tours where:


Sentences that are too complex because:

                 Too many words

                 Too many ideas

                 Too many characters

                 Confusing directions

                 Confusing things to do
At best I could help the heritage sites know:

Where to look


Where to ask questions




What is still needed is people with learning difficulties to go to heritage
sites and tell them what works for them.
                     The Heritage Project - Merseyside

To assist and encourage people with a
learning disability to access Merseysides culture
and heritage sites as is their right.

To enable cultural sites to become accessible
to people with a learning disability and
therefore benefit everyone.

To create an intellectual access protocol that
can be used in cultural sites everywhere.
                              The Forum

   5 groups
   20 adults involved
   Meet once a month since January 2006
   At meetings they plan and share findings
                             Visits to Heritage Venues


    There have been at least 20 visits to venues
    during the project so far
     The World Museum (a few times!!)
     The Walker Art Gallery
     The Maritime Museum
     The National Wildflower Centre
     Speke Hall
     The Williamson tunnels
     Metropolitan Cathedral
     The Anglican Cathedral
     The conservation centre
     Lady Lever
     Staircase House
The World Museum


 Hands-on workshop



 Explored the Natural History collection



 Could talk about the artefacts



 The support staff were surprised that workshop
  sessions at the museum are free
 Speke Hall




 Agreed free entry

 Went on guided tours

 Went around on their own

 National Trust say they will listen
  to research findings
                      How is the research done?


 The forum has been photographing and
  filming to document our visits


 Project co-ordinator makes notes of
  individual’s observations


 Questionnaire for Support Staff


 End of session questionnaire
Think about a visit to a heritage site...

Did you enjoy it?

What was good?

What was bad?

Think about things you saw, heard, read, touched...

Think about pictures you saw

Think about labels you read

Think about stories you heard

Think about how you travelled there

Think about how people treated you
         Issues regularly identified by The Forum

   Pre visit information needed
   Not knowing what is available at a venue to use it to its full potential
   On arrival not being made to feel welcome
   Unclear way finding - signage
   Use of colour coding for directions
   Often needs lots of visits
   Info lots of times in small chunks
   Inconsistent symbols
   Lack of symbols in use in interpretation
   More and bigger symbols
   More senses being used
   Audio text at press of a button
   More use of sound
   Large text is needed
   Videos and music create a sense of place and reduce need to read
   Computer games are fun
   Enjoyed hands on exhibits
   Enjoyed people in costumes
   More seating
The Forum Plans...




     An exhibition at St George’s Hall

     A film showing how they work

     Developing training for guides

     Exploring Tactile interpretation

     Pre visit packs

     Symbols and symbols guide

     News letter about what venues offer
  The Forum believes:

A consultation process should be
undertaken whenever new
interpretation is designed and made
for Heritage sites



  What do you think?

				
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posted:10/6/2011
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